Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Release Blitz - Simmer - Stephanie Rose

Title: Simmer
Author: Stephanie Rose
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 16, 2018

Simmer (verb): to stew gently below or just at the boiling point; to be in a state of incipient development

My life was always at a simmer… only stewing, never going anywhere. I was left to fend for myself when it came to affection or love, so I learned to go without.

I refused to let them see how broken and lonely I was; it was much easier to hide behind a false reality. I didn't want anyone's pity. I didn't need it. Pity wouldn't put food on the table or keep a roof over our heads. That was all me.

Now, I have a second chance at a dream long forgotten. It demands hard work and sacrifice—with absolutely no distractions. A recipe I already know all too well, raising a daughter on my own.

Drew Kostas is everything I’ve ever wanted but couldn't let myself have. He’s younger, gorgeous, charming—and relentless. He sees beyond the hardened shell I’ve built to protect myself, coaxing out a softer me I don't recognize.

It doesn't matter how I melt in his presence when the heat between us threatens to boil over.

That's the thing about heat. When it rises, everyone gets burned.

Especially when they're foolish enough to fall in love.

“Hey, Kostas!” A voice called out behind us. “Still coming here at the butt crack of dawn?” Chase ambled over to us. He was a grad student, too, but I only knew him through a friend of mine. “And you’ve got a pretty running partner now.”

I didn’t like or dislike him, but his presence now made me bristle with irritation. I suspected it had something to do with how he brazenly eye fucked Sara as she leaned back on the bench.

“I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Chase. Nice to meet you.” He extended a hand to Sara with a huge, shit-eating grin. I gripped the edge of the metal bench to fight the urge to ball my hands into fists and pummel them right in his face.

“Sara.” She gripped his hand, and he didn’t let go as easily as he should have, or at least as easily as I thought he should have. He settled next to her, again too close for my comfort, and blood boiled in my veins. He was always on the creepy side, but I never wanted to kick the shit out of him for it before.

“Are you one of Drew’s friends?” She squinted as she looked between us.

“We were in a few classes last year.” I shrugged before standing. “And we were just on our way to breakfast, so if you’ll excuse us.” I grabbed her hand and yanked her off the bench harder than I’d meant to. Something inside me snapped and needed to get her away from this asshole as soon as possible.

Maybe I didn’t accept being just friends with Sara as much as I let on. Maybe I hated that I had no claim or right to tell Chase or guys like him who approached her to back off. Maybe I wanted her to be mine—now. Not maybe at some unsure point in the unforeseeable future.

“Are you all right?” Sara stilled and yanked back.

“Fine,” I clipped, still irritated as fuck, and doing a shit job of hiding it. Her brows pinched in confusion, and I didn’t blame her. Sometimes, I wondered what the hell was wrong with me, too.

We were supposed to be only friends, but I hadn’t so much as glanced in another woman’s direction since Sara stumbled into the lab that night. I’d go to the bar with the guys and the girls either wouldn’t be pretty enough or smart enough or something else enough. The problem, or my problem was, they weren’t Sara enough.

Silence fell over us as we made our way to the diner on campus. It was only when I reached for the door that I realized I still held her hand in mine. I’d never dropped it, and she never pulled away. Now I was even more pissed at myself for wanting to make that simple gesture mean something between us.

The waitress brought our menus over right after we were seated. The usual playfulness between us wasn’t there. The air that surrounded us was thick and uncomfortable. Shaking off what happened with Chase was harder than it should’ve been. He only shook her hand … and leered at her. I raked my hand through my hair as the thought pissed me off all over again. What would I do if a guy tried more than that? I’d end up in jail if I didn’t reel myself in.

“Why do you waste your time, Drew?” Sara’s voice was small.

I lifted my head to meet her pained stare. Her chocolate brown eyes bore into mine, half questioning, half exposed. I’d never seen her this vulnerable before.

“Waste my time?”

“You could spend time with anyone.Be with anyone … without issues and a ton of baggage. Someone your age. Someone who could keep up with you.” She put her head down and laughed.

“But that someone wouldn’t be you.” Her eyes brightened right before they squeezed shut. I still wouldn’t push, but I was done lying to myself or her.

“Drew, you’re a good guy. I’m holding you back, I can tell. I love hanging out with you, but I can’t ask you—”’

“You never asked me to do anything. I love hanging out with you, too. I don’t know who convinced you that you were some kind of unwanted burden, but you’re not. Never. So, you’re not blowing me off, Caldwell. Nice try.” I let my lips curve up, hoping to draw out a smile.

“You wanted to punch Chase, didn’t you?” The corners of her mouth twitched.

“Maybe.” I shrugged, pretending to peruse the menu I’d seen a hundred times.

She let out a heavy sigh as she opened the menu. “You’re a foolish man, Kostas.”

Maybe I was a fool, but she was worth it. Sooner or later, I’d get her to believe that.

Johnaka's Review:

“Unexpected love, 5 stars”

Sara has had a crap life with the only bright spot being her daughter. Early on she learned early that you can only depend on yourself and no one else. To say she’s jaded and rough around the edges would be an understatement. But what would happen if someone actually took the time to know her? To see her? Would she soften?

Drew thought his life was going one way but promptly sees it changing course when he meets Sara. He’s almost done with graduate school and is ready to enter the big bad world. Sara sees him as a guy with a whole lot of life left and doesn’t want to push her baggage onto him, but what she doesn’t realize is that they are a lot more alike than she thinks.

I loved Drew and Sara. They just worked. I loved that he was slightly younger than her which I know some people will hate, but it is what it is. I love how Sara puts her daughters wants and needs above all else and I love how Drew just accepted it, no questions asked. Put the three of them together and its fantastic.

There was this piece Rose wrote that got me. It was about all the promises Sara made to herself about how she wasn’t going to be like her parents. She was going to do everything she could for her daughter. Sara would tell her she loved her several times a day, and more and I just got it. I’m a parent too, and even though I have my awesome husband and Sara had no one, I’ve been there. We made similar promise to our kids so for me, it hit kind of close to home.

I was sucked into the story from the get go and it played out like a movie in my mind. I can totally see myself reading Simmer again in the future. Scroll up and one-click!

Star Ratings:
Writing style-5/5

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Heather's Review:

Simmer was such a wonderful story to read. The title was perfect for this story. I felt such a heartwarming love story. This book is a standalone.  The genre I would say is contemporary romance. This is the first book I’ve read by this author. 

This book was about how someone can love you no matter how old you are. That falling in love isn’t foolish. I really enjoyed it because it felt real and nothing was forced.

The main characters of this book are Sara and Drew. Sara who is older than Drew has baggage, a daughter named Victoria. I really liked her character as she was such a loving mother and wanted what was best for her.    

Drew was my favorite though as he was swoon worthy. Even though he was younger he knew what he wanted. I loved how he was charming and didn’t mind that Sara had a daughter.  I also liked how he pushed Sara to believe in love and fight for it. 

Holy heavens the heat. It didn’t simmer, it boiled and burned!  Sara and Drew had a pleasant connection that wasn’t forced. Yes, they had chemistry. 

Stephanie wrote this book flawlessly. The way she mentioned other characters that were needed in this blended nicely.   

I read this book in a few hours, so it grabbed me from the beginning. Simmer was such a wonderfully easy read. If you like contemporary romance and want to read a “what could happen in real life” story then go one-click. I will look forward to reading more books by this author.

“It was the second time I’d seen it, but I knew it was as rare as it was beautiful- like a shooting star.”

“Merry Christmas, Fire and Ice.”

Star Ratings:
Plot- 5/5
Characters- 5/5
Heat – 5/5
Writing Style- 4.5/5
Overall Rating- 5/5

Stephanie Rose grew up loving words and making up stories. Being able to share them with readers is her dream come true. This lifelong Bronx girl loves Starbucks, wine and 80s rock. Her voice often gets mistaken for a Mob Wives trailer. 

She married her prom date and has a LEGO obsessed son. She believes there is nothing sexier than a good guy who loves with all his heart and has made it her mission to bring as many as she can to the page.


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